The Blues have an evening meeting (8:00 p.m. Paris time) with Australia, who were already their first opponent in 2018, with the hope of "creating a positive dynamic" according to the formula of Hugo Lloris, captain of a squad troubled by injuries but determined to shake up history.
In the post-war period, only the Brazil of "King" Pelé, crowned in 1958, succeeded in remaining on the throne four years later, which speaks volumes about the immensity of the task and about what an exceptional player can bring his own.
The pressure is enormous on the shoulders of the Blues, a formidable winning machine four years ago, hampered by several grains of sand for long weeks. There was a missed Euro in 2021, recent disappointing results (one victory in six matches) and a shovelful of injuries.
To the package of midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kanté, were added those of goalkeeper N.2 Mike Maignan, defender Presnel Kimpembe, current Bundesliga top scorer Christopher Nkunku and, above all, the fresh Ballon d'Or Karim Benzema, injured in training on Saturday.
- "Calm and serenity" -
"We continue to believe in our chances, in our group, in our adventure. We must use it to continue to grow as a team, to support each other", insisted on positive Lloris, in unison with the coach Didier Deschamps: "There is no need to be anxious, you need calm and serenity."
The luxury of France lies in its reservoir of stars, especially in front, around the indestructible Antoine Griezmann (who is aiming for a 68th consecutive match in selection on Tuesday), the indestructible Olivier Giroud, 36, the twirling Ousmane Dembélé and Kingsley Coman, and the Mbappé phenomenon.
At the Al Janoub stadium in Al Wakrah, whose architecture is inspired by the old pearl fishing boats of the Arabian Peninsula, the Paris Saint-Germain striker intends to shine as much as in the club and restore the shine to his selection which, despite the blows of fate, keeps the final of December 18 in its sights.
"It is difficult to define limits as his potential is incredible. I feel him focused, concerned, relaxed, he will be keen to perform and help the team to achieve the results we want", said advanced Lloris.
The Tricolores will not only face Australia, Denmark and Tunisia, their three opponents in Group D. They will also have to face the curse of the defending champions: Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018, four years after reaching Everest, were all out in the first round.
- "The" de Messi ? -
In the concert of favorites, Argentina is also on the starting line with strong ambitions around its conductor Lionel Messi, sevenfold Ballon d'Or who came to hunt in Qatar the only major trophy he lacks, at 35 years, for his fifth and "surely" last World Cup.
The Albiceleste start their tournament against Saudi Arabia (11:00 a.m.) with the "Pulga" armband on their arm, the gondola head of a selection made confident by their last 36 matches without defeat, one unit from the record of Italy by Roberto Mancini (2018-2021).
"It will surely be my last World Cup, my last opportunity to achieve this great dream that we all have. (...) It's a different World Cup because the time of the season is different. We arrive in a state in different form. Usually, it's at the end of the season. There, we played a lot fewer matches," said the PSG dribbler at a press conference.
The South Americans wear the costume of the immense favorite of Group C, ahead of Poland, which they will face at the end of their first round, on November 30 in Doha.
In the meantime, Lewandowski's team is measured on its side in Mexico by veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, 37, at the end of the afternoon (5:00 p.m.).
Mbappé, Messi and "Lewy" would do well to take inspiration from the English and the Dutch, other title contenders and winners respectively of Iran (6-2) and Senegal (2-0) on Tuesday for their debut.